Nonprofit Mississippi News The program that sends children to private schools with public school funds will not see any expansion or modifications. House Education Chairman Richard Bennett (R-Long Beach), declined to accept Senate Bill 2675 one day before the deadline for bills to be passed out of committee. The bill was originally intended to expand the program’s accessibility to all students. However, the Senate amended the law to extend it by just four years to 2024. Bennett answered reporters’ questions on Tuesday by saying that he would not revisit the bill. The Mississippi Education Scholarship Account (ESA), was created in 2015 by the Legislature. Students with special needs can apply for the program to receive $6,500 annually from the state to go to private schools. Bennett stated that it was “bad policy” for a bill to be passed beyond the current term of the next administration. Mississippi will be voting on all state offices this November, including legislative seats. Bennett stated, “The next governor, lieutenant governors, the next Senate and the next House are bypassing them completely, and I don’t think that’s right.” Bennett said that the electorate will elect new people, and he didn’t believe you should cut them out of it. He also pointed out a recent legislative report which highlighted problems with the program. Bennett stated that the program lacks the accountability structure necessary to ensure that ESA students are enrolled in non-public schools that meet the statutory requirements and that students with disabilities receive the services they need. Bennett suggested that the Legislature should address these issues. “I believe that over the summer, we should look at (the issues) and evaluate them. Then come back to see what the next administration wants. Although the bill will be killed in the current legislative session, it does not repeal the ESA program. The original law will expire in 2020. This means that the issue can still be considered in next year’s session.